Lady in the Park

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It was the first time I had seen her hurrying through the park, but my heart came up in my throat and I choked back tears. She was an older woman with white frizzy hair badly in need of a haircut and perm.

She wore polyester pants and a flowered blouse. Over her right arm hung a frayed brown purse. As I watched her with her stooped shoulders and unsteady gait she stumbled and I ran after her to lend a hand to keep her from falling.

Why does God give us glimpses of the past? Is it to remind us that we could have done more? Memories returned of my own Mother gone for ten years now.

My Mother lived alone for many years before heart surgery and two broken hips brought the end of her independence. The last few months of her life she lived with my husband and me. I loved her and took care of her but I was always busy. I resented the fact that my brothers and sister did not help out; now that she is gone I am glad she stayed with me. I worked full time and helped my husband care for her, but I didn’t sit down and talk. Why didn’t I take the time to read to her or talk about my job and fears of the future.

My youngest daughter had recently left for college out of state. My other children lived too far away to be of any help. They kept busy with their own family. Now I know it must have been the ‘empty nest syndrome’ along with depression and the overwhelming sense of not enough hours in my busy day. I was taking some college courses to further my nursing degree and finally dropped those to help my husband care for my mother.

As I watched this lady thread her way between vehicles crossing the busy street, I wondered, where are her children? Do they feel they are too busy to take her to the store, or to enjoy an afternoon in the park just talking?

Then I wondered if I had it to do again would I do anything different?


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